New York

15 September 2020

Secretary-General's remarks at Wreath-Laying Ceremony to Commemorate the 59th Anniversary of the Death of Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold [as delivered]

Today, we gather to remember Dag Hammarskjöld and pay tribute to his accomplishments.
On this 59th anniversary of his death, we celebrate his life.
Although he had a diverse diplomatic career and was a man of many interests, Dag Hammarskjöld’s name is forever linked to the United Nations.
Until his tragic passing, he led our Organization with courage and purpose, and we owe him a lot.
I welcome the General Assembly’s resolution in December 2019 to continue the inquiry into the causes of the plane crash. We have a responsibility to all the victims and their loved ones to learn the truth of what happened, and I would like to reiterate my personal commitment to that quest.
As we mark the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, we must note again Hammarskjöld’s central role in shaping the UN into a peacemaking and peacekeeping organization.
And just as he himself exuded personality, humility, so did he stress that the Organization, while also not perfect, nonetheless embodied a fierce commitment to advancing peace, sustainable development and human rights.
More than sixty years ago, he spoke of our world as becoming ever more connected -- a world in which, and I quote, “the weakness of one is the weakness of all, and the strength of one is indirectly the strength of all”.
Today, his words and vision are more timely than ever.
As the COVID-19 pandemic has upended our world, we have once again seen that international solidarity is no longer a choice, but an obligation.
That means working together to stop the spread of the virus.
Working together to find a vaccine that is accessible to all.
And, just as importantly, working together to recover better, protect the most vulnerable and reduce the inequalities heightened by the pandemic.
As we look ahead to the new session of the General Assembly that begins today, may we build on his extraordinary legacy to address the challenges upon us and, together, build a more peaceful, just and sustainable world.
Thank you.
I would like to ask all of you please to join me in a moment of silence.